3 posts in this topic

Please let your local representatives know that you oppose Maryland HB894 and Maryland SB673.

Those two above bills are for requiring a mandatory fee for all kayaks and non powered vessels in the state of Maryland.

This is just another tax/money grab from the state.

Kayak/canoe fee ill-advised | delmarvanow.com | The Daily Times

Maryland Sen. Andy Harris recently introduced SB673, which is a relatively short and simple piece of legislation that has caused quite a stir on the Eastern Shore. Delegate Addie Eckardt is among several members of the House of Delegates who co-sponsored a companion bill. The bills, HB894 and SB673, seek to create a statewide pass for hand-launched vessels -- specifically, kayaks, canoes and car-top boats -- using state or local government-owned boating access facilities.

Translated, what that means is that if this bill becomes law, anyone who wishes to put a canoe, kayak or small boat that's transported on top of a car would be required to purchase a statewide annual pass that's similar to the admission passes issued by state parks. The pass will cost state residents $15 a year; nonresidents will pay $25.

People who canoe or kayak the waterways of the Eastern Shore do not at this time pay to launch their boats.

Eckardt has represented her Eastern Shore counties of Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico counties for 15 years; Harris has represented Baltimore and Harford counties since 1999. Although Harris may, because he represents western shore counties, not be aware that Shore facilities do not generally charge a fee to put a canoe or kayak in the water, Eckardt is a mid-Shore resident who should know better.

Harris said he sponsored the bill because he wants to "fix the issue that some jurisdictions charge separate fees." Eckardt said the bill is meant to standardize fees of up to $150 a year charged by some Maryland jurisdictions and replace them with a single statewide pass. Both said they see it as a tourism marketing tool. And although Harris believes launch sites that are now free would remain that way under this bill, Eckardt said she wasn't sure.

If a fee were to be imposed on kayakers and canoists to use Eastern Shore facilities that are now free for anyone to use, it would likely have the opposite effect on tourism --not to mention the ire it would create among resident kayakers and canoers.

Harris called the legislation a "starting point for a discussion of whether that type of system is one that would be better for the user."

Paddle boats have little or no impact on the environment; they are few in number on the Lower Shore. This is not the time to be adding any new taxes or fees for Lower Shore residents or tourists.

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This is definitely not something that we want. Thanks for the info, Jim.

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